Wednesday, 24 June 2009

In solidarity with the people of Iran

Over the past week, the streets of Iran have been aflame. The Iranian elections on the 12th June, after a campaign beset by violence and intimidation - including the torching of the offices of primary challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi and an assasination attempt against former president Mohammad Khatami, who backed Mousavi - saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad consolidate his position for another term.

Immediate accusations by Mousavi supporters and other reformers and dissidents of vote-rigging appear confirmed by the admission from the Guardian Council "that the number of votes collected in 50 cities surpass the number of people eligible to cast ballot in those areas." The near-instant response was massive protests and rioting in the streets. The arrest of over 170 people in the first weekend of the protests, the detention of opposition members, and government threats and censorship have done nothing to halt the unrest.

What follows is a statement made to Libcom by the Vahed Syndicate, an Iranian workers' syndicate involved in the unrest, on the present situation;

Statement of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company about the recent unrest sparked by discontent with the claimed results of the 2009 election
Vahed Syndicate – Any Suppression or threat of civil liberty condemned
In line with the recognition of the labour rights, we request that June 26 Action Day – Justice for Iranian workers – to include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights.
In recent days, we continue witnessing the magnificent demonstration of millions of people from all ages, genders, and national and religious minorities in Iran. They request that their basic human rights, particularly the right to freedom and to choose independently and without deception be recognized. These rights are not only constitutional in most of the countries, but also have been protected against all odds.
Amid such turmoil, one witnesses threats, arrests, murders and brutal suppression that one fears only to escalate on all its aspects, resulting in more innocent bloodshed, more protests, and certainly no retreats. Iranian society is facing a deep political-economical crisis. Million-strong silent protests, ironically loud with un-spoken words, have turned into iconic stature and are expanding from all sides. These protests demand reaction from each and every responsible individual and institution.
As previously expressed in a statement published on-line in May of this year, since the Vahead Syndicate does not view any of the candidates support the activities of the workers’ organizations in Iran, it would not endorse any presidential candidate in the election. Vahed members nevertheless have the right to participate or not to participate in the elections and vote for their individually selected candidate.

Moreover, the fact remains that demands of almost an absolute majority of the Iranians go far beyond the demands of a particular group. In the past, we have emphasized that until the freedom of choice and right to organize are not recognized, talk of any social or particular right would be more of a mockery than a reality.
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company fully supports this movement of Iranian people to build a free and independent civil society and condemns any violence and oppression.
In line with the recognition of the labour rights, the Syndicate requests that June 26 which has been called by the International Trade Unions Organization ‘Day of action’ for justice for Iranian workers to include the human rights of all Iranians who have been deprived of their rights.
With hope for freedom and equality,
The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company
Human Rights Watch has insisted that "the Iranian government should immediately end its nationwide crackdown on opposition activity" and condemned the "violent attacks by police and state-sponsored militias against largely peaceful demonstrators." Their report highlights the extent of government oppression;
Other signs of the nationwide crackdown include attacks by security forces and state-sponsored militias on university student dormitories (a traditional stronghold of opposition protesters), the severe disruption of internet and mobile telephone communications, and restrictions on international and domestic media reporting on the protests against alleged election fraud.
Although it is almost without doubt that the spate of condemnations issued by western governments - particularly the US and UK - have other concerns at their core than the rights of women, unions, and opposition groups, there can be no doubt that the oppression bythe Iranian government needs to be opposed. Even if we cannot engage in active protest like the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) or the Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM), our solidarity with the working class in Iran must be unequivocal.

Only united can the workers of the world stand up and fight the repression of the state.